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A theory on the origins of deities.

onesteptwostep

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I was thinking about the origins of religions and how most tribal societies started to believe in a deity of some sort. Of course I don't have any empirical evidence, but I think deities have to do something with human will. There's a number of other theories regarding the origins of religion, and one of them has to do with Michael Foucault's understanding that religion is a form of control. I don't think religion really started that way. It's too unorganic for me, to think that religion was created first with the mindset of controlling the populace. There is, of course, a type of 'control' that religion has on a populace, that's without a doubt true (cultural, political, societal), but it's largely a by product rather than a first priority; nor do I think it's done out of pure, malcontent.

Basically I think religion started with an acknowledgement of the mortality of humans, but also an acknowledgement of the things that mortal humans can achieve. If the human believes that this will was bestowed upon him by himself, he becomes some sort of a tyrant- otherwise, he would dabble in some sort of religious explanation. Another point here is that, without religion, this ruler would be much more reliant on the will of himself, thinking that life is a closed system- where if one wills enough, anything can be achieved. So in a sense, religion is a placeholder. It's a way for humans to acknowledge the limited nature of humanity, something that's well presented in Judaism, especially by Solomon. Religion is a way for humans to say that life isn't a closed system, and that there is something more at work. In some ways it could be an extension of the will of humanity- it does this by actually negating human will, interestingly enough.

Anyway, this, I think compounds so that personal beliefs become somesort of a religion. In Christianity, the monotheistic God was usually someone's God. For example, the God of Abraham, or the God of Isaac, or Jacob, and so forth. As the generations held on to this belief (probably because of tradition, and there being no need to transition from this belief given their circumstances), the tribe under Abraham, or now Israel, took in the beliefs of their forefathers to create a theology. This creation of a theology is more akin to a political belief, (personally speaking). Things like the American Manifest Destiny or American Exceptionalism are to me, in some ways similar things. Anyway as time passes, traditions become too much of a cultural and societal force so that disbelief in these notions is quite unthinkable. Even in Judaism, when their fatherland was ripped in two and subsequently absorbed into Assyrian and Babylonia, the theologies were framed so that they held up to a certain continuity, even if their political will was essentially broken. This can be said for American Exceptionalism. The idea becomes too big to fail.

Anyway I think I've strayed a bit from the OP, but basically, religion and their deities are an exponent of human will- perhaps one of the greatest expressions of it. They first start out as personal beliefs, then as generations pass as their tribe prescribes to this tradition, and becomes a religion. The theology created from this amalgamation soon becomes political, which now the notion has become too large to fail.

I could make grand sweeping statements on how survivability and mortality is one of the chief propellers of this development (and that we don't have these factors poking at our sides anymore), which I think somewhat explains why religion is on a downwards trend, but that's another huge weedball to untangle.
 

Animekitty

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origin of deities has something to do with the psyche. not exactly hallucinogenic schizophrenia but tend to be more real than belief or faith. A diety would actually be present in reality, the reality of the person affected by the diety. In a mythos, a story about deities would instill a deities presence. This was more complex because of civilization creating a narrative. Oral traditions like a fox spirit or water spirit had a hold much earlier.

The first deities I believe were stories that became real. real in the psyche.
 

onesteptwostep

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origin of deities has something to do with the psyche. not exactly hallucinogenic schizophrenia but tend to be more real than belief or faith. A diety would actually be present in reality, the reality of the person affected by the diety. In a mythos, a story about deities would instill a deities presence. This was more complex because of civilization creating a narrative. Oral traditions like a fox spirit or water spirit had a hold much earlier.

The first deities I believe were stories that became real. real in the psyche.
This doesn't explain the stories though, which in part are a chunk of what religion is. I think what you're explaining is some sort of a confirmation bias entrenched by mental abnormalities (which I don't disagree that it has some influence on religion making), not the religion itself.
 

Animekitty

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stories are explanations for things in a folk sense. the moon is a and rabbits symbolize fertility. the moon rabbit gave me many children because it favors me on my time of the month. or that the sun is good because it scares away the night critters that eat me. nature stories evolved when agriculture and cities came into being.
 

BurnedOut

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I feel that creation of deities is a result of inability to understand several natural phenomenon and the human need for comprehension. Humans back then put 2 and 2 together and figured that there is something influencing the way the world works and invented God as the most primitive form of 'cause'. Of course, progress in science and society have continuously diminished the emphasis placed on God but it was considered to be a quintessential thing before.

Until and unless humans completely figure the way the world works or at least are satisfied with their thirst for comprehension, belief in God shall persist.
 

EndogenousRebel

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Entanglement of projection and other survival mechanisms is the usual explanation.

If you mean to find the origin, or "the phenomena that actualized the characteristics of deities" I would say you would indeed have to start at the morality of the individual, their psychology. This variable is very volatile and dependent on the environment and other people- not being wholly consistent among any one two people. Various cities and villages in Greece didn't worship the same pantheon for example.

I would say that it's not the acknowledgement of morality, but the discovery of it, and religion is just one big forum thread debating that. Disgusting.
 

ZenRaiden

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One way you can look at deities as exactly what they are empirically which is imagination. But they are conceptual not necessarily something we connect automatically with nature, though deities in many ways transcend nature and control it.

I believe this was Foucault point.

Jesus even though considered a real person represents a human transcending limitations and having divine connection.

Gods are transcending and represent unlimited and perfect existence.

Humans are painfully aware of their limits and reminded everyday about it through various things. Whether they be upset or hurt or toiling away to get food or trying to figure out what is right and wrong.

Gods are there is ultimate goal for humans. How you go about it is domain defined by religious texts, scholars, teologians, imagination, personal or social drives etc.

Christians simply said the obvious thing. You can never be good enough. You simply can not match God. He knows more, he simply can do anything. He is absolute and infinite. No one can do anything about other than aspire to connect with divine qualities and follow them to be better than before.
In other words is pretty grim and depressing considering that God decided that Jesus had to be put on cross in order to help people find and realize true value.

In other words bible was simply saying that in order for Jesus to stand rightful by the side of God and represent divine value he had to defy Roman authority which was not divine and had been too flawed and evil.

IN other words he was not afraid to die for the sins of others, but took it like a champ.

Other religions go about this differently.

In buddhism they see it as ultimate connection to the divine by basically accepting the divine and transcending human and corporeal existence.

In many ways they are saying you have to be one with yourself. Accept who you are

Like buddha meditating and accepting all the things in him evil and otherwise, but being able to not be moved by them.

His ability to accept things led him to ultimate true.

That we are weak and we suffer and will suffer, but we do not have to limit our soul to this.

In other words he realized that there is something like natural balance.

He realized this when the cup was in the stream of water.

A string that is too loose and a string that is too tight does not have a melody.

It does not have harmony nor real meaning.

It simply does not resonate.

So in reality buddha realized we must wake up to the painfully obvious truth in order to escape illusion and only then we can walk towards and work towards full realization and transcending the limitations of human existence.

Just my 2 cents although I do not think I have explained much.
 
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